Snake Fungal Dermatitis

Posted on July 27, 2016

A recently identified “Snake Fungal Disease” is affecting wild and captive snakes in North America, Europe, and Australia.  This fungus has been named Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola and it has been shown to affect the skin, eyes, and/or heat pits of several snake species.  Infections with this fungus can be disfiguring or fatal.  Veterinarians and wildlife biologists should consider this pathogen as a differential diagnosis for snakes with dermatitis.  Information and photographs of affected snakes, and literature citations, are available at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website:

Samples can be submitted to diagnostic laboratories for culturing and identification, including:

And three laboratories in Germany perform culturing:

A recent review is available: Pare, JA, and L Siegler. 2016. An overview of reptile fungal pathogens in the genera Nannizziopsis, Paranannizziopsis, and Ophidiomyces. J Herpetol Med Surg 26(1-2): 46-53.

The Association of Amphibian and Reptilian Veterinarians recommends contacting the appropriate laboratory regarding sampling, costs, and turnaround times.